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Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has been defined by its resolve, its values and the resilience with which it has overcome this tragedy. The 9/11 attacks and other acts of terrorism have failed to undermine our values or weaken our society. Americans continue to embrace democratic values and fundamental liberties, instead of fear and oppression.

As the Justice Department and the entire nation honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, the department remains fully committed to the fight against those who target Americans and our way of life. The best way to honor the legacies of the victims of 9/11 is to prevent further terrorist attacks on this country, which remains the highest priority and most urgent work of the department.

Even as we pledge continued vigilance against those who target Americans, our nation can be justifiably proud of its response to these threats over the past decade. America is both stronger and safer than it was a decade ago. Ten years after 9/11, al-Qaeda and its affiliates, while still a serious threat, have a severely degraded capability to attack the homeland. As a result of offensive actions abroad and vigilant security measures at home, the U.S. government has reduced terrorists’ capabilities to perpetrate spectacular attacks on American soil.

For its part, the department has improved its ability to identify, penetrate and dismantle terrorist plots as a result of a series of structural reforms; the development of new intelligence and law enforcement tools; and a new mindset that values information sharing and prevention, while vigorously protecting civil liberties and privacy interests. Working with partners in the intelligence community, the military and law enforcement, as well as with communities across America and counterparts around the world, the department has not rested -- and will never rest -- in its efforts to safeguard America.

Even as we strive to thwart 100 percent of the plots against us, we know that violent extremists need only succeed once. While absolute security is not possible and much work remains to be done, the Justice Department and its partners have built a much stronger security architecture to maximize our ability to protect the homeland, and are constantly adapting operations in a way that enhances the nation’s security while further delegitimizing the actions of terrorists.

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Posted: 2011-09-13 04:37:30

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